Monday, April 28, 2014


Napalm Records

Having checked over my old posts it seems the closet that I have ever come to Germany's Xandria was when I covered Wolfpakk's self-titled album. And that was only because that particular pet project featured Xandria's (now former) bass guitarist, Nils Middelhauve! From the looks of it Xandria has a long list of former members. And with "Sacrificium" this female-fronted symphonic metal act has new members in place so the line-up changes continue. All of which makes it ever more amazing that the group's latest is as sound as it is! That's not to say that I'm suddenly a huge fan of all of this. Symphonic metal has always been a bit hit or miss with me. Still, I'm going to call it as I see it and on "Sacrificium" this band sounds blessed to have tapped a new vocalist like Dianne van Giersbergen (Ex-Libris)! Whether she is a step forward or a step back from what the group had I honestly do not know as this really and truly is my first taste of Xandria. That in and of itself is kind of sad seeing as this outfit has been around (in one form or another) since 1997 when Marco Heubaum (vocals, guitar, keyboards) first assembled the project! Since then the group has released their fair share of demos, singles and even a compilation along with this release, the group's sixth overall full-length studio album! Straight to the point, what I like about this album is how "Sacrificium", despite being awash in symphonic moments, maintains a metal edge. Even if it is a bit too keyboard cluttered for my taste the album has a clear cut appreciation for actual heavy metal and when you combine that with the powerful vocal delivery of Dianne van Giersbergen it ends up being a nice match. What I didn't like about the album (besides the over-use of keyboards) is how it sometimes seemed a bit too fancy for it's own good. It wasn't enough to turn me off, but that (the over-glamorous/glittery nature of such a genre) can be the downside of symphonic metal. Not for all, but when you find yourself sitting on the fence about such a style of metal it can be the deciding deal breaker. If I had to grade it I'd likely toss out a B- or an B+ although I can't quite decide if I'm being too generous or not generous enough? For simplicity sake, symphonic metal aficionados should gel with an album like this one while the traditional heavy metal crowd most likely would have a  momentary shrug of the shoulders followed by a "OK..." response.

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